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Denture adhesives, pastes, creams, and powders have been around for ages. And for a good reason: they help your dentures fit more securely. When denture wearers are learning to speak and talk with a new pair of dentures or if you’re new to dentures altogether, the adjustment period can require a bit of patience.
Having the best denture adhesives on hand can give you a little extra reassurance during the process. But truth be told, not everyone needs to use a denture adhesive. If you’re one of the people who do, choosing the best product can make a world of difference when you’re talking or eating.
Traditional removable dentures are made in such a way that they rest directly on top of your gingival (gum) tissue. This fit needs to be just right so that the denture is functional and comfortable by creating a tighter seal between the denture and your gums. Otherwise loose dentures or ill-fitting dentures can rub your gums, cause sore spots, or slip around whenever you’re eating and talking. But even then, sometimes good, quality dentures may need a little extra help to make them secure enough to get through the day. Especially if they’re brand new and you’re getting used to them. That’s where denture adhesives come in.
With denture adhesives, you have a sort of sticky layer or cushion between the denture and your gums. Its like a denture glue. This helps the denture stay in place during the day and reduces friction, rubbing, or slipping. Using an adhesive or denture paste provides added stability for removable dentures so that you don’t have to worry as much about them slipping out of place during normal social activities or mealtimes.
Keep in mind that most denture adhesives are only good for the day you’re using them (except for a couple of exceptions.) You can’t sleep in dentures, ever, so in most cases you’ll need to clean off the paste, strip, powder, etc., whenever you take your dentures out at the end of the day.
There are several different types of denture adhesives out on the market, mostly because everyone has their own preference when it comes to how to use them. Some of the most common ones you’ll see at the store include:
A denture powder works like a paste or strip, but you shake it onto the denture, similar to baby powder or using a salt shaker. You sprinkle the powder on, and moisture mixes with it to create a sticky seal. Add however much or little you need. Just keep in mind that a denture adhesive powder is little more difficult to control where the powder is going, versus using a strip or paste.
Denture pastes come in tubes that look similar to toothpaste. Simply squeeze out a small amount across the denture as needed. Most people use a few dots of paste or squeeze it out in a line across the part of the denture that needs the most reinforcement.
If you want a larger surface area covered all at once, denture adhesive pads are fairly straightforward to use. Just place one pad in the “plate” of your denture as directed, then seat it in your mouth. Some pads are cushier (Is that a word? More cushy?) than others, so the thickness of the product will want to be something you consider.
A little more viscous than denture pastes, denture cream is a bit thinner and easier to spread around on your denture. Think of creams like a nice mix between powders and pastes.
These are like a streamlined adhesive pad. You can either cut them down to the shape and size you need or place them directly in your denture wherever you need a little added reinforcement. Most of them are dry and are “activated” by adding a little water or from the saliva in your mouth.
There are a number of denture adhesive manufacturers on the market. Chances are, you’ve probably heard of most of them. But, like toothpaste and mouthwash, the options are a little overwhelming.
When people ask me which brand is the strongest denture adhesive or the best, I always say, 'It depends.' What works for one person might not work as well for someone else. Dentistry is not a one-size-fits-all. These are generally great options to start with.
So here are my top five picks for the best denture adhesives currently on the market:
Known for its slogan, “Fix it and forget it,” Fixodent has been a part of the Procter & Gamble dental adhesives line for almost 100 years (it initially hit the market in 1932.) There’s a reason why it’s been around for so long, which is why I rank it #1 when it comes to the best denture adhesives. Fixodent Complete Original is a denture adhesive cream, but the brand also makes adhesive strips and powers too.
Fixodent touts an “elastic-like membrane” to help dentures grip onto your mouth, making them more comfortable to wear while also keeping them firmly in place throughout the day. While I’ve obviously never used Fixodent Complete Original Denture Adhesive Cream personally, most people report that it works for up to about 12 hours, which gets you through the majority of the day.
If you had to ask me which product I would list as the best denture adhesive, I’d say you can’t go wrong with Fixodent. There’s a reason why it’s been around for nearly a century.
However, definitely read the ingredients and instructions on how to use Fixodent. As with any adhesive, there are some ingredients where prolonged use could have some unwanted side effects (more on that a little further down.) Fixodent does contain zinc as an ingredient and it should only be used as directed since some people do experience side-effects from zinc-containing denture products.
Poligrip is made by gsk (GlaxoSmithKline), which is a really well-known and respected pharmaceutical company. Like Fixodent, Poligrip has been on the market for a pretty long time and is known for helping dentures fit more securely throughout the day. Poligrip is also an adhesive powder, but they also make strips. Both options work well and are just as effective as one another.
Poligrip is specifically made to help people wear loose-fitting or uncomfortable dentures, adding stability throughout the day. It contains ingredients like petrolatum, mineral oil, cellulose gum, and a calcium-sodium mix. You can use it on full or partial dentures, and most people say that Poligrip pretty much maintains its hold all day long, even at the end of the day. Poligrip is zinc free, making it a top choice for anyone who wants to avoid adding zinc to their adhesives or pastes.
If you’re for sure going to be wearing denture adhesive all day, every day, for the rest of your life, then I’d go with Poligrip since it’s zinc free. Keep in mind that if you’re relying 100% on any denture adhesive to even be able to wear your dentures, you probably need to see your dentist to have them adjusted or replaced.
Secure denture adhesive comes in cream and strip forms, so you can pick which one you like best and go from there! Secure is made by Dentek Oral Care (you’ve probably seen their disposable floss picks at the store.)
The secure waterproof denture adhesive is zinc-free and waterproof. Some people refer to it as the superglue of denture adhesives. Why does it matter that it’s not water soluble? Because that means you aren’t going to easily swallow or ingest it whenever you’re putting your dentures in. Secure also non-abrasive, so you won’t have to worry about it rubbing or irritating your gums.
Secure is my top pick for a water-soluble, zinc-free denture adhesive. And since it’s not powder, I personally feel like it’s a little easier to apply to your denture or partial. Just put a thin layer of denture cream or use the strips as needed. Like you learned in Kindergarten with glue, “Dot, dot, not a lot.”
Sea Bond dental adhesive may not be the oldest product on the market, but it’s still been around for a whopping 70 years! Sea Bond is also zinc-free and easy to apply; it starts working once you add moisture. Like Secure, Sea Bond is also waterproof, so it maintains a strong hold and keeps food particles out from under your appliance while you’re using it.
Sea Bond comes in a few different varieties like strips, cushions, or “wafers” that you can trim down to fit your denture the way you want it to (which is great if you have something like a partial denture that you’re wearing.) This gives you a lot more versatility when it comes to making sure you have adhesive right where you need it but not where you don’t. If you’re cutting the strips down, you can probably get more uses out of each package. Be careful when purchasing to ensure you have the correct denture adhesive so your dentures fit properly. They sell upper denture strips and lower denture strips separately.
Sea Bond is known for having products with a “cushiony soft feel” that screams comfort, which isn’t something you usually think about when you’re talking about dentures. I like how you can trim the various types of product lines they have, making them more versatile for people who have partial dentures. You really can’t go wrong with them. That being said, the thicker cushions might get in the way if your denture still fits fairly well, which is why they might not work for some people.
Cushion Grip is another zinc-free denture adhesive and “soft reliner” thermoplastic. In other words, the warmth of your mouth helps it mold more around the shape of your gums. It’s what you’d call a mild adhesive, so it isn’t as strong of a hold as some of the other popular brands. Rather, Cushion Grip adds a bit of a, well—you guessed it — cushion so that your denture feels more comfortable.
Cushion Grip uses a silicone product that’s responsive to your body temperature to help it work. It’s more of a buffer between your denture and gums than other stickier types of adhesives are. But get this…instead of applying Cushion Grip to your dentures every day, it’s a single application product that can last up to four days at a time. It’s because of the thermoplastic mold that forms when you wear it and the fact that it isn’t really sticky.
Cushion Grip gives you more bang for your buck since you’re only applying it to your denture a couple of times a week instead of daily.
If you have “perfect” dentures, you likely don’t need denture adhesive or pastes. Or if you do, you only need a tiny little bit. In some cases, dentists recommend using denture pastes while you’re adjusting to your new removable prosthesis. But ideally, your denture will fit so well—and conform so closely to the shape of your mouth—that it will create a suction between the acrylic and the roof of your mouth.
Unfortunately, that’s a little harder to do if it’s a lower denture, so those prosthetics may require denture adhesive more frequently than if you only wear an upper denture.
Keep in mind that the shape of your mouth can change over time, especially if you have missing teeth. Sleeping in your denture can accelerate the bone resorption (shrinkage) process as well, causing your jaw to lose some of its shape. In either scenario, the denture may start to feel loose, rub uncomfortably, or feel too painful to wear.
The best thing to do is have your denture adjusted, reline your denture, or replace it altogether. But in the meantime, you may want to temporarily use one of these best denture adhesives to buy you some time.
There are some really important things you need to know if you’re considering using denture adhesive. For one, the FDA has warned about some reports of safety issues in certain denture adhesive products. In this case, it’s the overuse of zinc. While some zinc is fine, using a zinc-rich denture adhesive every day can be dangerous and is known to lead to issues like numbness and nerve damage. Always read the labels and use your product as directed.
Not all denture adhesives work the same, so this is more of a personal preference. You may want to try a few different types of denture pastes or strips before you know which one you like the best. Here are most common forms:
For example, a paste or gel is probably going to give you more versatility when it comes to getting a great fit, but strips and pads are going to be easier and less messy to use. The size of your prosthesis also matters, because you might want the option of trimming down a strip or cushion instead of sprinkling on a powder (which, I’ll be honest, seems like it would be a little too messy for me.)
This is an easy one! Considering you’re going to use your denture adhesive probably every day, you don’t want to be paying an arm and a leg for it. Find a nice middle ground as far as the price point and your personal preferences. Remember, a quality denture probably needs to be relined or totally replaced if you’re relying on hefty amounts of denture pastes to keep it in place; an update will save you money and the hassle of using a lot of denture pastes or strips.
In the ideal world, you wouldn’t need denture adhesive to hold your “plates” in place. Or maybe you’re even upgrading to a snap-on implant-supported denture design. But if you do need strips or pastes to help your denture fit securely, the best denture adhesives will be the ones that are easiest and most cost-efficient for you to use.
Always let your dentist know if you’re relying on denture adhesive because it might be time to have your denture relined or adjusted due to worn acrylic or changes in the shape of your jaw. And don’t forget, you shouldn’t be sleeping in your dentures since doing so can actually cause them to not fit as well because it accelerates the bone resorption/shrinkage process. Last but not least, use your products as directed and always check the label if you have concerns about certain ingredients.